Saturday, 19 January 2013

Wonderful Walland

Littlestone - 1100hrs - V cold, overcast, ne 4 - A dusting of overnight snow combined with a biting easterly made for proper winter birding weather, and yet again it was another great day to be in the field. Started off opposite the old lifeboat station and worked the beach towards St Mary`s Bay where we eventually had a clean sweep of 10 species of shorebirds, including 2 Ringed Plovers, new for the year. Plenty of Common Gulls on the sands, plus distant grebes and auks out on the bay.
Walland Marsh - Cracking session on Walland with birds all over the place and dead easy to see courtesy of the snow. First stop the seed dump up near Brenzett where a flock of 30 little `uns comprised mainly Chaffinches along with 6 each of Corn Buntings and Yammers. Plenty of Fieldfares along the lane, plus Song Thrushes and Blackbirds, a Green Woodpecker and countless Woodpigeons and Rooks. The drive across the Marsh to Midley delivered hundreds more winter thrushes, corvids, Common Gulls, plus Sparrowhawk and Jay. From the triangle a distant flock of swans and geese was difficult to count but formed mainly by 116 nervous looking Bewick`s and 20 White-fronts. An adult male Hen Harrier showed well along with 5 Marsh Harriers and perched Peregrine and Common Buzzard. A walk down the edge of a stubble field was full of winter thrushes, Starling, Woodpigeons, Lapwing, Goldies and 10 Skylarks with more Blackbirds in the hedgerow and best of all 2 Woodcocks flushed from the ditch by Barney. The feeders and grain dump opposite were full of the usual finches, sparrows and tits and while I was watching a hopeful Kestrel flapped through impersonating a Sparrowhawk. After a roadside chat with the Ashford 3 it was onto Hawthorn Corner and another swan flock that contained 13 more Bewick`s amongst over a hundred Mutes. Had another view of the `grey ghost` as it flushed a small flock of Mipits and yet more thrushes from the field margin. Phew! Breathless birding.

                                Wild swans & geese, Walland Marsh

RSPB - Finished the day on the bird reserve where all the usual wildfowl noted including 3 Smew on New Excavations and 2 on Burrowes, plus 4 Great White Egrets. Plenty of activity around the car park feeders with finches and tits. Over the road 200 Shovelers amongst the ducks and an Egyptian Goose.

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